Those opposed to reasonable gun legislation often insist that gun violence is mostly due to Black-on-Black crime in our inner cities and does not directly affect Whites living out of large cities. This is not the whole story, however. Nationally, 61% of all deaths by firearms are not homicides but suicides [CDC National Center for Injury Prevention & Control, Statistics Query & Reporting, 2009-13]. In Minnesota, that figure incredibly jumps to 82%! Of these suicides, latest figures show that 91% of the victims are White; only 4% are Black, and the vast number of suicides occur in rural and suburban areas, not inner cities, where mostly Whites reside [Gun Violence and Background Checks in Minnesota. Everytown for Gun Safety. Statistics Query & Reporting, February, 2016]. Between 1999-2014, gun suicides increased 35% in Minnesota [MN Department of Health, 2015]. This is a major health epidemic whose solution lies almost entirely with Whites.
The direct cost of gun violence in Minnesota alone is $764 million per year, as of the end of December, 2016. That includes healthcare costs ($32 million per year), law enforcement and criminal justice expenses ($31 million per year), employer costs ($4.5 million per year), and lost income ($696 million per year). When the reduced quality of life attributable to pain and suffering ($1.4 billion) is considered, the estimate rises to $2.2 billion per year. This does NOT include significant, yet difficult-to-measure costs, like lost business opportunities, lowered property values, and reductions in the tax base [The Economic Cost of Gun Violence in Minnesota. Minnesota Coalition for Common Sense, published December, 2016 by Americans for Responsible Solutions]. Who pays for such needless costs? Of course, we all do through our taxes, and the higher tax bracket one is in, the more that person shells out to clean up the mess that is gun violence, and the biggest tax brackets are held by Whites.
Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians make up about 35% of the U.S. population but only 15% of state legislatures. State Democratic legislators are mostly White, with 33% minority; Republicans are almost all White, with only 5% minority [Governing: The States & Localities, December, 2015). The new federal Congress is 80 percent white, 80 percent male and 92 percent Christian [The Washington Post, December, 2015]. Eighty-four percent of gun owners in the United States are White, according to data from the 2012 American National Election Study (ANES). Whites also make up the majority of those who oppose stricter gun regulations. In a July 2015 Pew poll, for instance, 57 percent of whites said it was more important “to protect the right of Americans to own guns” than to “control gun ownership.” Among blacks and Hispanics, that number was just 24 percent. None of these factors bode well for reasonable gun legislation in the near future. Simply put, if the current situation of gun-violence in America is ever going to change, Whites need to step up–big!